The Saga of Miles Forrest

The rush was over except for three miners sitting over in the corner, and two of Thompson’s punchers who were in town to pick up some supplies for his ranch.  I had been talking with them, telling them to tell Thompson that Upton Shaw was now deceased.

       Molly and Marta were sitting at my table along with Doc Jones and his wife Edith.  Lucas had even joined us.  Molly tried to get Emelda out of the kitchen to join us for a few minutes, but she shied away.  Her English was not very good and I think she was somewhat embarrassed to sit with a group of people, though at times she had joined when it was just Marta, Molly and myself.
       “So you think that’s all it will take–this Masterson fellow?” questioned Doc regarding the information I gave him about Bat Masterson becoming the new marshal of Silverton.
       Most folk have heard of Masterson, the truth and the myth, of his character and deeds.  He had earned some of his reputation, but some of it had been made up by those sitting around a table in a saloon, or by the lies of those wanting to make a dollar or two.
       “Doc,” I responded, “Bat will get the job done.  I know the man.”
       Well, I did know him.  I can’t say he was a personal friend, but our paths had crossed several times back in Denver.  We knew each other well enough to converse and also to respect each other.  I tried to always make myself known to ride clearly on the side of the law, while Bat sometimes lived in that gray area.
       “Hmpf,” grunted Doc.  “He’ll last ’til someone shoots him from ambush.”
       A little gasp came from Marta.  She had joined us but was sullen and hadn’t said nary a word.  Molly noticed it as well.
       “I talked with him for quite a spell until the train left the next day.  Charlie filled him in on the situation in Silverton and Bat also agreed to keep Shy Williams on as deputy,” I informed the group then I added.  “I don’t think he’ll stay around long.  In fact, I told him I was surprised he came with winter coming.  All I received was a chuckle and a smile.”
       “When will Charlie be home?” asked Marta abruptly.
       I watched Molly place her hand on Marta’s arm.  “Anytime now.  He could come in today or tomorrow.  With Bat there he won’t need to stay around as long.”
       “Good, then he can get rid of that badge!” she exclaimed, moving her arm away from Molly’s hand. 
       It was silent for quite a spell with eyes searching each other.  “You don’t mean that Marta,” said Edith.  “The county needs Charlie.  He’s a good sheriff.”
       Marta’s lip curled as she spoke.  “It’s not good for me.  I plan for us to move, maybe down toward Taos…somewhere away.  Charlie, Lucas, and I will start a new life along with our baby.”
       “I won’t be going,” stated Lucas quietly but firmly.
       His reply startled Marta.  “You must, I am your guardian,” she answered sharply.
       “I’m seventeen, I have a job.  I won’t be leaving with you,” he affirmed.
       Doc was scratching his ear and the side of his head, Edith had lowered her head seemingly ashamed at having brought up the subject.  Molly turned in her chair.  “Marta, have you been praying about this?”
       Marta wouldn’t look at her, but Molly wouldn’t let her get away.  “Marta, look at me and listen.  Charlie is good at his job.  You really need to pray about this.  It is dangerous to force a man to back away from what the Lord has provided for him,” she said then pleading she added.  “Don’t make him choose between his work and you.”
       “So I should be self-sacrificing!  Why not him?  Why not him giving up something?  Why should I be forced to worry whether or not he’ll come back from one of his trips?”
       “Marta, I know it’s hard,” said Molly softly.  “I had to work through it myself.  It took time, prayer, and trust in the Lord.”  She looked my direction.  “I had to come to the realization that Miles was in God’s hands as well as our lives.”
       I finally spoke up.  “Marta, when Charlie comes home listen to him–not with your emotions, but with your heart.”  Then I added something stupid, “I’ll look after Lucas if you decide to leave.”
       Standing up she thrust her chair back knocking it over.  When it crashed the few people left in the diner all looked in our direction.  “All this is your fault to begin with!” she yelled then tromped off toward the kitchen.  A moment later we heard the back door slam.
       Molly started to get up but I grabbed her by the arm shaking my head.  “She needs to work this out.  You know that.”
       “Senor Miles, I’m sorry to always cause you troubles,” spoke up Lucas.  “I will go with Marta if she leaves.”
        “You’re no trouble,” I replied.  “It’s your decision, but as Molly told Marta, make it with your heart and much prayer.”